Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash appears to be trying to work the referees already ahead of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
After Milwaukee’s 107-96 win over Brooklyn on Sunday, Nash complained after the game about how the Bucks were allowed to defend Kevin Durant. Nash was particularly frustrated with P.J. Tucker’s defense, calling it “borderline non-basketball physical.”
Nets Coach Steve Nash on PJ Tucker's defense on Kevin Durant: "I thought it was borderline non-basketball physical at times."
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 13, 2021
There’s definitely a point to Nash’s angling here. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Tucker held Durant to nine points and 25 percent shooting as his primary defender. Tucker’s defensive style has definitely been on the aggressive side, and with Nash working the refs early, the hope may be that Tucker gets in early foul trouble in Game 5 and the Nets can get Durant looks at other defenders instead.
Durant and Tucker have certainly been at odds for much of the series. Durant is going to have to find a way to shake him off for the Nets to be successful.